Professor Glanmor Williams
Professor Sir Glanmor Williams
Originally from Dowlais near Merthyr Tydfil, Glanmor Williams was educated at Cyfarthfa School before completing degrees in History and Welsh at Aberystwyth. He was appointed to an assistant lectureship at Swansea in 1945, and to a Senior Lectureship in 1952.
He was Professor of History at the University from 1957 to 1982, his research interests focusing on the Protestant Reformation and its impact on Welsh life and culture. His exceptional study of the Welsh Church after 1282, The Welsh Church from Conquest to Reformation, was published in 1962.
In subsequent works, such as Owen Glendower (1966), Recovery, Reorientation and Reformation (1987), and Owain Glyndwr (1993), Williams documented how English subjugation of Wales was strengthened by the Tudor Acts of Union, and yet still offered scope for the growth and development of Welsh culture.
In Religion, Language and Nationality in Wales (1979), he described the origins of Welsh cultural and political nationalism.He wrote equally fluently in Welsh, with his best known works including. Dadeni, Diwygiad a Diwylliant Cymru (The Renaissance, the Reformation and the Culture of Wales, 1964), Grym Tafodau Tân (The Power of Fiery Tongues, 1984) and Cymru a'r Gorffennol: côr o leisiau (Wales and the Past: a choir of voices, 2000).
Glanmor Williams was Vice-Principal of the University from 1975 to 1978, and was also appointed to many committees in Wales and England. He served as President of the Baptist Union of Wales, National Governor of BBC Wales and Chairman of the Broadcasting Council for Wales (1965-71), and on the board of the British Library and its Advisory Council. He became a Fellow of the Society of Arts in 1979 and was awarded a CBE in 1981.
After his retirement from Swansea, he served as Chairman of the Ancient Monuments Board (Wales) from 1983 to 1995, Chairman of the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales (1986 to 90), and Vice-President of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth (1986 to 1996). He became a Fellow of the British Academy in 1986 and was knighted in 1995.
Speaking after Professor Williams' death in Swansea in 2005, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Richard B Davies, said: "his influence on the study of Wales is incalculable. Just to meet him was a privilege."
He was the pre-eminent historian of Wales, the most prolific and the most authoritative, who made a magisterial contribution to our understanding of religion, language and society in Wales
Meic Stevens, Obituary: Professor Sir Glanmor Williams, The Independent, Monday